East-coast Catania, Sicily’s second-largest city, is an ancient settlement crouching in the shadow of Mount Etna. First impressions are of sprawling industrial suburbs, chaotic traffic, and noise. Head for the centre though, and you’ll find yourself in a splendid, largely 18th-century city centre. Catania was virtually obliterated by a catastrophic earthquake in 1693, one of seventeen that have destroyed the city down the ages, which laid waste many towns in this part of Sicily. The Catanians appointed a brilliant architect from rival Palermo, Giovanni Battista Vaccarini, to design a new city centre, and what you see today is largely his work. There are superb baroque buildings, churches and monuments, many along Via Etnea, the main drag, which runs from the Piazza del Duomo, an elegant 18th-century square that’s also home to the Fontana dell’Elefante, the symbol of Catania. Near here are the food markets, some of the most vibrant, colourful and stimulating in Italy.